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New equipment in Canatara Park a homegrown success story

Published on

Cathy Dobson 

Across the road from the Animal Farm and public washrooms in Canatara Park is an interesting array of exercise equipment you might find in a gym.

But it’s outside and available for adults to use, rain or shine. No gym fees are required, and it’s unlike the children’s playground equipment normally found in parks.

So what’s up with that?

The answer lies in a new agreement between the City of Sarnia and an adult fitness equipment company in Point Edward that has a design and fabrication facility just blocks away.

Active Playground Equipment has installed five items: a cross-country ski simulator; a sit-up bench; hand bike; air walker and leg press. They allow park visitors to take time for relatively low-impact exercise while enjoying the outdoors.

This isn’t the first time ActiveFit equipment has been installed in Canatara Park by the same company. In 2011 the city agreed to a pilot project involving the first generation of equipment to see how the public would receive the new product.

“Its popularity absolutely exploded,” says salesperson Jenn Johnston. “Since then, we’ve been quoting municipalities from Halifax Nova Scotia in the east to Grand Forks British Columbia in the west.”

Places like Windsor, Chatham-Kent and Muskoka in Ontario and municipalities and school boards as far away as Newfoundland and Manitoba have bought ActiveFit equipment for parks, schoolyards and public walkways.

“We’re noticing a lot of baby boomers interested in using it,” Johnston said. “But we have high schools buying it too.”

After the trial period, the City of Sarnia bought the first generation of equipment in 2013 at a reduced cost.

Now the company has improved on the initial design with a second generation of 20 different pieces of outdoor exercise equipment.

It’s sleeker with a cleaner look and new colours, Johnston said.

“We’ve tweaked it so that the foot pedals and angles are more user-friendly,”

Canatara Park was great opportunity for the local company to showcase its newest product line, and once again Sarnia got five pieces of equipment at a reduced price.

Installation took place March 9 on a circular cement base that is wheelchair accessible.

Active Playground Equipment has been manufacturing children’s equipment in Point Edward since 1993 and currently employs about 20.

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